Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Air Force Maj. Jeffrey O. Ausborn

Remember Our Heroes

Air Force Maj. Jeffrey O. Ausborn, 41, of Gadsden, Ala.

Major Ausbor was assigned to 99th Flying Training Squadron, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas; died April 27, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained from gunfire from an Afghan military trainee.

Maj. Jeffrey O. Ausborn, 41, of Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. Ausborn was assigned to the 99th Flying Training Squadron and was the subject of a May 2008 article in Airman magazine. The C-130 pilot then worked in the air component coordination element of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa in Djibouti, and the article talked about his emotional response to handing out food and water to local poor people.

“What we’re doing here is a very good thing,” he said. “It’s about helping Africa as a whole. I think this is a very good mission.”

Suzanna Ausborn first met her husband during a deployment in Kuwait, where their work and friendship in the same Air Force unit would later blossom into a budding romance. She soon fell in love with Jeff, an only child, And despite the 19-year veteran's regular deployments halfway around the world, she said they had remained inseparable.

"Jeff is one of the types of people when you meet, you want to be around him all the time," she said. "You never want to be away from him."

When Suzanna didn't receive a call from her husband earlier this week, she began to worry. "We talked nearly every day -- that's how I knew something was wrong, I didn't hear from him."

Suzanna said at first she didn't want to believe that her husband had been killed. "I wanted to come to Dover (Air Force Base) last night to see my husband or feel his presence one last time. I wanted to salute him one last time," she said. "But what I really wanted is for it to be a mistake and for them to say 'No, that's not your husband there, sorry, let's undo this.' But that didn't happen."

Her husband's casket, draped in an American flag, returned to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware early Saturday morning.

"And so as we got closer to his casket coming off the airplane, reality set in, that really, it's him," she said. "He's never coming back."

According to his wife, Suzanna, he volunteered last year to go to Afghanistan to teach new Afghan pilots how to fly the C-27 aircraft. She had been heartened by his assignment in Kabul as a flight instructor, supposedly one that would draw less risk of combat.

"He was the most compassionate, kind, patient and understanding husband, father, pilot and supervisor," she said. "He was a great communicator, we talked nearly every day - that's how I knew something was wrong, I didn't hear from him. I miss him so much."

"The loss of Jeff is devastating not only to the squadron but the wing as well. He has served our wing and his nation honorably," said Col. Richard Murphy, 12th FTW commander. "Our hearts and prayers go out to Jeff's family and to the families of those affected by this terrible act."

Major Ausborn is survived by his wife, Suzanna, and five children, Emily, 15, Eric, 12, Shelby, 10, Mitchell Maloy, 21 and Summer Maloy, 17.

Air Force Maj. Jeffrey O. Ausborn was killed in action on 4/27/11.

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